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Tiny particles may help surgeons by marking brain tumors
Date:4/29/2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - - Researchers have developed a way to enhance how brain tumors appear in MRI scans and during surgery, making the tumors easier for surgeons to identify and remove.

Scientists at Ohio State University are experimenting with different nanoparticles that they hope may one day be injected into the blood of patients and help surgeons remove lethal brain tumors known as glioblastomas.

In the journal Nanotechnology, researchers reported that they have manufactured a small particle called a nanocomposite that is both magnetic and fluorescent. These nanocomposites measure less than twenty nanometers in size (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter). One sheet of paper, for example, is about 100,000 nanometers thick.

"Our strategy is combining two particles that contain different properties to make one particle with multiple properties," explained Jessica Winter, assistant professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering and biomedical engineering at Ohio State.

The magnetic nanoparticles emphasize color contrasts within MRIs, allowing doctors to see potential or existing cancerous tumors before surgery. The fluorescent nanoparticles can change the color that the tumor appears in the brain when seen under a special light.

Neurological surgeons could benefit from a multi-functional particle that would allow them to better see the tumor with an MRI before surgery, and then see it physically during surgery, Winter said.

"We're trying to develop a single nanocomposite that's magnetic so you can do preoperative MRI and that's fluorescent so that when neurological surgeons go into surgery, they can shine a light on the tumor and it will glow a specific color such as green, for example. Then, the surgeon can simply remove all of the green," Winter said.

"With traditional magnetic contrasting agents, you'll get an MRI, but you won't see anything during surgery," she added.

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Contact: Jessica Winter
Winter.63@osu.edu
614-292-3769
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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